Thanks, as always to the good folk at the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), Tachoblog can bring you a roundup of Commercial Vehicle news for this week…

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Truck show confident

Germany’s huge truck show, the IAA, opens in Hannover tomorrow with most exhibitors very positive about the European and wider markets.  At the often enormous pre-show press conferences there were frequent references to rising orders and sales and clear confidence that markets were on the mend.  Others virtually queued to condemn 2009 as the worst market fall “on record” “since the second world war” or “in living memory,” but pretty much all agreed that the worst is over.  More cautious comments came from several senior UK truck and trailer men, most expect the UK’s recovery to be slower.  Almost without exception, their continental cousins are clearly confident.

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LF Hybrid leads for Daf

On its stand at the IAA show in Hanover, Daf Trucks will show its 12-tonne LF45 hybrid truck, due in production at the end of this year.  The firm has tested its LF Hybrid for two years in the UK and on the mainland and says the parallel hybrid power system can cut fuel use by between 10 and 20%.  The firm says it is the EU’s leading tractor unit maker, but still places a “major focus” on its rigid range, with a “tailor-made vehicle for every application”.  Also on show is special edition of the XF105 Super Space Cab, the Blue Edition.  Daf also claims a truck industry first by supplying all engine ratings in ultra-clean EEV versions.

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Mercedes-Benz, Fuso and Setra under one roof

Daimler AG says it is proud to have all its brands, Mercedes Benz, Fuso and Setra under one roof and on one stand for the first time at the IAA.  It is quite a big roof, two whole halls in fact, 14 and 15, with over 60 trucks, vans and buses and coaches.  The firm, the world’s leading commercial vehicle maker is also proudly back in the black with truck sales up 33% through to August this year compared to the same period last year.  Daimler is putting in on an impressive showing as usual..

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Volvo goes green

Volvo Trucks’ main message at the IAA show in Hanover is that tomorrow’s transport will be sustainable in terms of energy and economy.  The company is showing “unique new green technologies.”  It will also give its new Volvo FMX construction truck a premier at the show.  The firm says is working to find the best alternative fuels and to increase its trucks’ fuel efficiency.  It has an FM powered by a 13-litre diesel engine running on methane gas and diesel on show; it says it is the first to run diesel engines on gas.  Compared with older gas engines, the efficiency rating is up by between 30 and 40%.  “This technology is one of the fuel types that Volvo is evaluating,” it says.

There is a hybrid driveline on show, based on a 7-litre engine.  This will appear in a hybrid version of the Volvo FE in 2011.

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Tipper trailer under five tonnes from Schmitz

Schmitz Cargobull AG, which says that it senses a clear recovery in the trailer market is using the IAA Show at Hannover to launch a lightweight tipping trailer.  The S.KI steel X-Light, with a rounded steel body weighs 4.92 tonnes and with an aluminium body, 4.46t.  Schmitz says the 24 m3 will prove tough and well able to cope with the rough and tumble of tipper operations.  Schmitz said it has built as many vehicles in the first half of 2010 and did in the whole of its 2009/2010 business year.  It has also just returned to two-shift working at its Altenberge.

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Click for DSA advice for truck drivers

The official Driver Standards Agency Guide to Driving Good Vehicles is now available as a downloadable PDF.  Published by The Stationery Office, you’ll find it at  This is the only official guide to explain the standards need to pass today’s practical truck test.  It is the definitive guide for new and experienced truck drivers and trainers.  The PDF download gives instant access to the essential guidance people need to acquire and maintain the skills necessary to keep them safe on the road.

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OFT probes truck prices

The UK’s Office of Fair Trading last week announced an investigation into truck pricing.  It has asked most truck makers for information and visited one where an individual was arrested and bailed.  It has also said that it does not yet know if anything untoward has gone on.  Every truck maker involved has pledged full co-operation with the relevant authorities and declined to say anything more while an investigation is in progress.

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MiX Telematics at IAA Hanover

MiX Telematics says it will show a wide range of products and services on its stand G1 in Hall 24, at this year’s IAA Commercial Vehicle Show in Hanover, Germany.  It will also introducing its latest system, MiX DriveTime, which its says “is the ultimate solution for owners of heavy commercial vehicles in Europe.”  This allows fleet managers to remotely download digital tachograph data to check driver and vehicle management targets and a wide range of other items.  The firm will also show Fleet Manager, its “flagship” fleet management system and its new mobile system MiX Mobile, which allows fleet managers to run their fleets via mobile devices when a computer is not available.

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Click for DSA advice for bus and coach drivers

Stressing safety, competence and professionalism, The Official DSA Guide to Driving Buses and Coaches is also now available as a downloadable PDF at  The only official guide to explain the standards people need to pass the PCV test, this promotes the correct attitude and approach, along with essential professional driving skills to keep drivers and their passengers safe.  For new and experienced drivers and trainers, this PDF is fully bookmarkable with a linked table of contents, glossary and index to help people find the information they are looking for quickly and easily.

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Trucks in the fast lane

The Fuelcard Company says truck drivers should slow down afters a UK Department for Transport survey suggests 83% break the 50 mph speed limit on dual carriageways.  The survey also suggested 75% of truck drivers break the 40 mph limit on single carriageway rural roads.  The firm says breaking the speed limit also hikes fuel use by around 40%.  This makes speeding both “risky and expensive” for fleet managers already facing increasingly tight budgets.  Jakes de Kock, marketing director for the firm says fleet managers should avoid a ‘fast lane lorry’ culture and step up driver monitoring and training before an accident occurs.

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Renault GM van deal continues

Renault and GM say that they will work together to develop the next generation of the successful Vauxhall and Opel Vivaro and Renault Trafic vans and chassis cabs.  The two firms started working together in 1996 with the first generation of the Renault Master and Vauxhall and Opel Movano Van range.  Earlier this year the firms launched the latest versions, with a model range extended to include rear wheel drive models and a number of factory built conversions.

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Low weight Versa delivers ‘wow’ factor for Thamesdown

Thamesdown Transport of Swindon has chosen Optare’s Versa model to use on two of its routes serving the main local hospital and has put eight into service at a total order value of £1.1m.  The firm wanted a low weight, fuel-efficient vehicle.  “Versa meets the bill in every respect,” says Paul Jenkins, managing director.  “We also felt that with its stylish looks Versa would deliver that ‘wow’ factor that might help entice more passengers onto public transport.  With the 11.1m Versa integrals weighing just 7.5 tonnes unladen, compared with 12-metre heavyweights at 11 tonnes, Thamesdown thinks its new buses will deliver good fuel efficiency too

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Early trailer type approval for SDC

SDC Trailers says it is the first major UK trailer maker to get European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval for its products.  Issued by the Vehicle Certification Agency, this means SDC can offer to offer its customers a fully type approved product, ahead of the mandatory start date in 2012.  After that, no trailer maker can register a trailer with Vosa for use on the road, unless each vehicle has the appropriate approval papers to show that it meets the relevant performance, environmental and safety standards.  SDC got approval for a 13.7m curtainsider.  The approval a range of systems like braking, lighting, rear and side under run, spray suppression, tyres and couplings.

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Bill Godwin

Freelance journalist Bill Godwin has just died at the age of 87, after a short illness.  He was one of the more memorable and most reliable freelance journalists in the business.  Originally a photographer, Godwin increasingly found himself asked to “write a few words” about a vehicle he’d been sent to photograph.  He did this so well that for many people he was known as a journalist first and photographer second.  This was a reflection of his total reliability and determination to deliver ahead of deadlines.  With byzantine contacts across Europe, particularly in passenger transport circles, his modesty was as remarkable as his memory and ability to get on with virtually anyone and get the story.  He will be much mourned and widely missed.  He leaves a son, Peter who suggests that donations to the British Red Cross in Bill’s memory will be welcome

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TruckMate sat nav for trucks

The Chameleon Group, distributors and installers for car phone kits, vehicle-tracking systems, parking sensors, driver assistance products says that new partnerships give it exclusive distribution rights for Aura’s Snooper sat nav systems and TruckMate, a special system for trucks.  This allows the driver to enter the size and weight of the vehicle plus data on the type of load.  The system will then calculate a safe and truck-friendly route.  “Priced to trade at £170.20+VAT it is excellent value for money,” says the firm’s Errin McNamee

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New Scandinavia winter tyres

Continental, which says it leads the market for winter tyres for trucks has a new range.  Called Scandinavia this includes the truck drive and steer axle tyres, trailer tyres and the firm’s first winter tyre for coaches.  Continental says the new range give 20% more grip on low traction surfaces, better safety and handling in slippery condition and better mileage, thanks to deeper tread.  The truck and trailer tyres have a ‘two phase’ tread design for year-long use.  The firm says the wide range of tyre sizes means it can equip virtually any operation and vehicle.

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Fors offers safety deals

Transport for London says members of the Freight Operator Recognition Scheme has deals on leading safety products, including proximity sensors, left-turn warning alarms and reversing cameras.  Fors members can also get free Driver CPC training, discounted Safed training and a 50% cut on the annual price for the How’s My Driving?  scheme.  TfL says many firms already use the latest technology and it thinks these offers should help all Fors members deliver improved safety across their fleets.  “Some discounts are only available for a short time, so operators need to check the new offers page on the Fors website,

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Special anti-siphon deal from TruckProtect

“Fuel theft is simple and rarely involves the breakage of tanks or protective devices,” says Russell Fowler, CEO of TruckProtect  He says it is more likely to be the regular theft of small amounts of fuel, usually without the crime being apparent.  It is often by siphoning and he believes not all anti-siphon devices protect as well as they should.  “If you can push a standard garden hose through a device within 10 seconds to enable theft deep into your tank, then that device does not protect you,” says Fowler.  “Our best-selling NeckIt! cannot be breached in this way and remains Europe’s top defence against fuel theft”.  Fowler says he is so confident that TruckProtect offers the best protection that the firm has a special deal, to swap what he believes are ineffective devices for NeckIt! units.

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Winter tyre rules guide

Continental Tyres has put guide to European winter tyre law on its website at  “You can download the guide and it will show you the different regulations across Europe,” says the firm.  It believes some UK and Irish truck and coach operators risk running the wrong tyres unless they know the rules as the run onto the European mainland.  “With the approach of winter this is obviously more important.”  The guide also explains the safety benefits from using winter tyres.  “The effect on stopping distances alone is important; winter tyres can cut this by an artic length.”

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New Trailerloda lets airfreight operators use standard trailers

Joloda Hydraroll has a new pneumatic roller track system for the airfreight industry.  Called Trailerloda, the new low-profile, stand-alone system can be quickly and easily fitted into a standard new or in-service trailer.  Importantly season, it offers airfreight operators the flexibility to buy, hire, contract or run standard box trailers, curtainsiders or reefers rather than to long lead time, high cost, bespoke-build units.  It will also help operators respond to sudden changes in demand.  Trailerloda fits without the need for any modification to chassis or flooring and there is no price penalty between an in-build kit and the cost of the new stand-alone Trailerloda system.

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Award for Roadlink

Last week, the annual awards ceremony of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce and Industry whose company membership list is 1,500 strong just had its annual awards ceremony.  The government’s business minister, Mark Prisk presented awards to several firms, including Roadlink International, which won the blue riband prize; ‘Black Country Business of the Year Award’ for the for the second consecutive year.  “Our success is entirely due to our fantastic team of people,” said joint managing directors, Helen Arthur and Keith Sedgley.

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And finally

New Scientist reader Paul Bader tells the magazine’s Feedback page that a notice on the wall by the kettle in his workplace admonishes:  “Do you need to fill the kettle?  When you make a hot drink, boil just the amount of water you need, and in a day we could save enough energy to light every street lamp in the UK.”  Paul says he knew the kettle was inefficient but he didn’t realise it was that bad.

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